LUDLOW Runners’ Claire Thomas claimed a second podium finish of the summer in the third and penultimate race of the Herefordshire Summer Off Road League.

Thomas, winner of the first race in the series, finished second in the women’s race and 38th overall over a strenuous two-lap course at Queenswood, where Wye Valley Runners were the hosts.

She finished behind Croft Ambrey Running Club’s Katie Ayers who led from the start to claim her second successive win, finishing in 31st place overall.

Ayers’ teammate Gemma Mallett was the third woman home, coming 41st overall.

In the men’s race, Builth Wells Running Club’s Jonny Pugh made it a hat-trick of victories but was pushed all the way by Matt James of Hereford Couriers.

Reigning individual men’s champion Pugh broke away on the final lung-bursting steep ascent to triumph by ten seconds from James, with Builth veteran Mike Pfeiffer, 53, finishing third.

With one league meeting remaining - at Shobdon Court on Wednesday, July 24 – defending champions Croft Ambrey consolidated the lead in their quest to retain the team title.

They finished 45 points clear of Builth at Queenswood, stretching their overall advantage to 96 points, with Wye Valley a further 28 points adrift in third.